A brief history of the shobu project and why SkullGirls is no longer needed.(Part 1)


#1

I have stayed quiet about this for far too long, having spent the better years of college dedicating myself to a certain project. There is not one person you can name who was a dedicated to it as much as the man writing this. Yet, I was the one who was let go. Not to the surprise of many of you, I am speaking of the SkullGirls project. Many of you would not know of it now, if it wasn’t for the time and effort I sacrificed for the project. I have spent time and given up good grades so that I could have something to show to potential employers. It is not so far fetched to say that I’ve sacrificed a potential career for the project. This is a brief history of not only SkullGirls, but a comment on community based game projects. I’m going to take my time and split this post up into multiple parts. Feel welcome to comment and criticize any point I make.

It all started when I became aware of an article on siliconera.com*. The site featured an article on a new indie game called SkullGirls. Being an avid fan of the doujinshi game scene in Japan, this news that there was an American developed indie fighting game excited me. Unfortunately, I was soon to be disappointed.

As a fighting game player and programmer, I wanted to become involved in the project, so I wasted no time finding the SkullGirls website and contacted the developers. Having grabbed the demo, I noticing some deficiencies in the game’s mechanics. Using one of the characters, you could continuously keep attacking, keeping your opponent in block stun. This was only one of the problems. I quickly informed the developers. The lead developer let me know that the hitboxes were generated by a rectangle, generated from the maximum height and width of a sprite. Not only the attack boxes, but the boxes which the game detects an offensive collision were calculated from the sprite’s area. It did not take long to realize they had no clue about 2D fighting game mechanics. They even wanted to implement a block button! Seeing the potential in the art of SkullGirls, I wanted to save the project from obvious failure due to poor mechanics.

It did not take long for me to convince the project members that they had a seriously problem on their hands. Could they release a fighting game that lacked all the mechanics that have been refined in fighting games for over a decade? I argued against this, and soon found myself as the lead software developer after the previous one had quit. At the time, me and another SRK members, MikeZ, argued over combo system that Skullgirls should have. I will get to this later.

I had convinced the project leaders that I had what it takes to program for the project by developing a series of animation tools to assist in content development, even including a hitbox editor. The tools supported the existing file formats the game used. This was first time I had developed such software, and I even demonstrated my own fighting game engine that I had been working on. I showed how it contained features that were essential to fighting games that the previous engine lacked, such as hitstun based on a move’s strength. There is no way I can really say if I actually intimidated the existing programmer or not, but he left the project. There was a gap left that either MikeZ or I could fill. After a few weeks of debating, MikeZ forfeited on account of having little time because of his real software development job. What follows is an account of the projects development while I was at the helm.

I’ll continue this post at some future time. Feel free to discuss


#2

Fail troll thread.

MikeZ knows nothing of fighting games? Really?

OMG BLOCK BUTTON, THAT DOES NOT BELONG IN 2D GAMES.

Box hitboxes has been used in every 2d fighting game like ever.

Requesting for lock.


#3

Er, Zinac’s definitely not a troll.


#4

Zinac is anything but a troll.

As someone who worked, and works with Zinac currently, I can attest to the amount of time, dedication, and effort Zinac put into this. He programmed an entire character in a day. He made absolutely flawless netcode, the best I’ve ever seen, even with advances in the technology since then. And he did it all without seeing a penny for it.

In fact, he did all this while essentially being marginalized. The Skullgirls team was very loosely defined. We had a multitude of great talents, and I’m sure the game would have looked beautiful had proper steps been taken to make sure things went smoothly. I almost want to say Alex Ahad doesn’t WANT this game to be released. He’s been working on it for almost a decade, and even after he gets an amazing engine with perfect netcode, for free, he drops Zinac like a rock. I don’t care if I got let go as well-- Even though I was the only sprite artist on the team that was making any sort of progress, that’s not what’s important. I’m just pissed that someone like Zinac got screwed over and ripped off.

For anyone wondering, the reason why we got let go was that Ahad’s “designer,” who had been grandfather claused into the team, decided that our input was no longer necessary and urged Ahad to fire us. To put it simply. So now Zinac is left with nothing to show for his work except a great engine but nothing to do with it, and Ahad ended up firing that designer anyways. Again, I don’t care that I got fired. I wasn’t that good at the time, all I had going for me was the time and effort I put into my work, so I’m thankful I even had the chance to work on something like that. I learned a lot and that’s good enough for me. But Zinac spent years of his life on this.

Ahad’s leadership is going to sink anything he ever does, because his leadership is nonexistent. Even if this game is completed, what does it matter? Mike Z is turning it into some bizarre MVC2 where every character has triangle jumps anyways. I’d really like to know who would want to play a game where you only choose characters who all look the same, and all play the same, but it handles like MVC2.

Just my 2 cents. Take what you will of it.


#5

Not a troll post, just a “QQ I got fired you guys suck” post.


#6

…they volunteered their time for free.

ouch.


#7

That game was dumb anyway.


#8

Well this isn’t going to end well.


#9

I was looking forward to what was going to become of this project, now I don’t know if I should anymore.


#10

Looks like I’ll get to try out MikeZ’s demo myself for the first time. He is willing to take criticisms from me. I’ll try to be fair.


#11

The moment they mentioned teams you should have known it was bad.


#12

Bullshit.


#13

Um, in case you can’t tell, he’s talking about the people who were working on this before he and MikeZ took over. Just thought I’d let you know.


#14

>implying mike z would be let every character play the same

too busy dreaming of the potential of custom assists to care about your babbling


#15

this thread looks to be getting nasty


#16

I’m on the edge of my seat for part 2


#17

Since you weren’t being paid for your contributions at all, I assume you still have the right to all the code you wrote? So in essence you have an entire engine just no content for it? If so that’s not completely terrible, you still have awesome proof of concept and something to show potential employers, it’ll get your foot in the door thats for sure.

Plus maybe you can take the game engine and actually do something properly with it instead of beating your head against a brick wall


#18

None of this relates to MikeZ’s version of SkullGirls. I received some strong hints that maybe I should not write the next part, since it would be quite nasty towards certain members of the project. It may breed ill will against certain people I will not mention, and you could only imagine what kind of retaliation I would come up against.

I would rather not censor myself.

You may understand a little of what I was up against by reading Base’s comment, but that is only one perspective.


#19

Why don’t you take your engine and make your own fighter?


#20

gets out popcorn
i’m ready for part 2